minstrel: Lowest Common Denominator

Teleri Barod sca_bard at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 21 14:14:40 PST 2000

Some thoughts kicking around my head as I've read the
filk threads over the past few weeks...

I agree with the gentle who posted that the more
ignorant you are, the easier it can be to get the
sensation of medieval transport that seems to be our
Society's version of ecstatic visions.  I recall a
feast where the entire hall joined a bard in singing
"Loch Lomond"... it was stirring, it was heartfelt,
and the whole time a nasty little voice is echoing in
my head, "But that's from the Jacobite period."  It
was a bizarre sort of double sight, seeing so many
people caught up (maybe?) in a Dream but having a
little bit of musical knowledge keeping me from
entering fully into the spirit of things myself.  

As others have noted, it's not period to think about
being period.  So the disjunction caught me.  :(

For Kaitlyn Piper, congratulations on your new post! 
There are many links on the SCA Music Homepage and the
Minstrel Homepage to sources of period music.  The
Dorian label of CDs also carries a good deal of
well-recorded period tunes... if your local Sam Goody
is somewhat lacking, maybe try an online distributor.

Another potential source for music (gets ready to
dodge) is "traditional" music.  

***** This is in no way meant to discourage anyone
interested in period music away.  It's a tangent, it's
been kicking around in my head, and I'm tossing it
out.  As popular as this stuff is, I thought it might
be relevant.***

This has, to my surprise, been neglected in the filk
thread.  These would be the songs found in most "folk
music" collections you can easily lay hands on at
events, Pennsic, or even in some stores.

Traditional tunes have a few good things about them:
most Scadians know a good many of them, like to hear
them, request them, and can sing along with them. 
They're not as jarringly modern as filk to modern
songs.  Some have story kernels which *are* period,
even if the actual lyrics and tunes used aren't.  (the
Child ballad version of the period romance "Hind Horn"
springs to mind, as do some of the Robin Hood
ballads).  The tunes are generally also friendlier to
the modern ear than some period genres.  Usually, they
fit the "mood" people are expecting at SCA events.
But, in point of fact, they *aren't* period, as my
disjunctive experience with "Loch Lomond" goes to

I guess I sort of think of them as a compromise.  They
are audience-pleasers, may have period roots, and do
not detract from the mood.  To get laughs, I'd rather
sing "The Lusty Young Smith" from 1750 than "The
Scotsman's Kilt" (again!) from the... what, 1970s? 
80s?  ('Course, if someone *requests* the kilt song,
I'm not too proud to oblige...)

(Anticipating replies to this msg... Why not sing a
period bawdy piece?  I don't know any... which I'm
trying to fix.  But I don't want to stop singing in
the meantime.)

Thoughts?  A good compromise, or irresponsible
proliferation of OOP music?

- Teleri

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